We decided to climb it. We were all alone in the bush, and we decided to climb to the top of this giant tree. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time. We both agreed that in our twenties we probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but it seems life gets more precious as you get older, or you just finally get it that you’re not invincible, so it felt pretty scary but we were determined to do it anyway.
The climb isn’t for the faint hearted. There are metal spikes hammered into the side of the tree to climb on. There are warning signs at the base of the tree advising you not to attempt the climb if you have a heart condition, and that there is nobody to help if you get into difficulties. When we arrived at a resting platform halfway up the tree there was an even bigger warning sign advising us to leave our backpacks on the platform before attempting the second half of the climb. The second half is a near vertical climb which narrows considerably. At the top is the small wooden lookout hut. It was one of the most exciting things we’ve done and the view over the forest is amazing!
Eleven miles west of Perth is Rottnest Island. To get there take the Rottnest Express from downtown Perth, or pick it up in Fremantle. The island has a laid-back atmosphere, unspoiled beaches and scenery, and unique wildlife. Rottnest is a sanctuary and no vehicles are allowed except service vehicles and the bus that goes around the island. We took the bus as far west as it goes and then walked two miles to the most western point of the island. It was a lovely sunny day and the island is absolutely gorgeous.
We saw quite a few quokkas. They are only found on Rottnest and are related to the kangaroo. They are very small hopping marsupials about the size of a large cat. When the Dutch first discovered the island they thought they were rats, very very large rats, hence the name Rottnest. We also saw six large stingrays in the shallows off the jetty, and several pelicans.
Australia is a unique and beautiful country, with much to offer in the way of stunning scenery, exotic wildlife, cosmopolitan cities, and some of the best beaches in the world. And if you get yourself a little way off the beaten path you’re sure to find some uncrowded places, and plenty of Australia’s distinctive animals and birds.